British low-cost airliner Easyjet (U2/EZY) has said it sees an opportunity for low-cost flights from Heathrow if the expansion goes ahead.
Easyjet says that if the expansion goes ahead then passengers could see fares reduce by up to 30% as low-cost carriers compete against Heathrow’s legacy carriers.
The Government has approved plans for a third runway at Heathrow and MP’s are likely to vote on the strategy soon.
Speaking at the recent Heathrow Connectivity Conference Easyjet urged regional airports around the country to make the case for their Airport to be connected to Heathrow by scheduled flights which will form part of the third runway expansion plans. Heathrow has seen a 40% reduction in the number of seats available on domestic flights between 2000 and 2017 along with a 13% reduction of seats to European destinations.
Easyjet says it has been working closely with Heathrow for a number of years to gauge the viability of low-cost operations ay Heathrow and can now confirm that it would be viable for the airline. The airport would be able to meet Easyjet’s requirements for its ‘walk in, walk out’ boarding process and 25-minute aircraft turnaround time.
Offering domestic and European flights from Heathrow would be in line with easyJet’s strategy of flying between primary airports that have a strong demand from leisure and business passengers and already operates from major hub airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol and Paris Charles De Gaulle.
Robert Carey, easyJet’s Chief Commercial and Strategy Officer, outlined the airline’s views on Heathrow:“Easyjet supported the Airports Commission’s clear and unanimous recommendation and agrees that expansion at Heathrow will provide the greatest passenger and economic benefits, including lower fares by opening up the airport to increased competition.
“Expansion at Heathrow will bring significant benefits to all parts of the UK and is in the best interests of all passengers – both business and leisure, long and short haul.
“This expansion would enable low-cost airlines like Easyjet to operate from Heathrow (in addition to existing London bases) allowing them to provide new routes and increased competition on dozens more UK and European routes.
“easyJet’s costs are significantly lower than legacy airlines so easyJet’s fares on these services would be lower than those paid by passengers today.
“We look forward to engaging with the UK’s regional airports and their Governments and other local organisations to work out which regions will enjoy the largest growth in passenger demand and economic benefits from new connections to Heathrow and the rest of the world.
“Expansion at Heathrow must be delivered sustainably. Local noise and environmental impacts need to be addressed and easyJet supports the Commission’s recommendations on these issues.
“Easyjet will bring our long-term environmental strategy, a key element of which is the next generation Airbus A320 neo aircraft. These aircraft produce 15% less carbon emissions and are 50% quieter than current generation aircraft. We are taking delivery of 130 of these aircraft and all will be flying with easyJet before the new runway opens at Heathrow.
“Expansion at Heathrow will bring significant economic benefits to all of the UK and that’s why we urge MPs to support the Government’s National Planning Statement so that work can start to increase the aviation capacity for the UK. ”
Having a base at Heathrow would also give Easyjet the opportunity to expand its “Worldwide by Easyjet” connectivity model which has been successful at Gatwick.